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Archive for the category “Gaming”

The Guild Wars 2 dust up…

So I have been away from posting for a bit here due to that thing called life but just had to share my views on this whole Guild Wars 2 ban hammer situation.

To be transparent about my view on Guild Wars 2 as a game I will say this.  I never played Guild Wars more then perhaps a week total and have yet to pick up Guild Wars 2 though I am planning on doing so in early September.  I tend to take a wait and see approach with new MMOs and let the rush die down before I enter the game.

Now as for this banning situation.  I get it.  Shit is screwed up because a mistake was made and players took advantage of it.  What these players did may be questionable or sneaky but using the term cheating or hacking is a bit of a stretch.

I think the easiest way to view the situation is to translate what happened in to a real world metaphor.

What these players did to me is the same as if Target made a mistake and sold the LEGO Millennium Falcon for $49.99 instead of the standard retail $129.99 and someone bought them all and sold them on Ebay for $100.00 Target made the mistake… the buyer just capitalized on it.

The person that makes their own bar codes at home and places them on the box and changes the price themselves is the same as the person that uses 3rd party software to exploit the system and deserves the ban.

One is clearly going outside the system to make money, one is merely ringing up the item at the register and walking out.

What this situation has really shined a light on though is the way ArenaNet choose to handle it.  Once again, real world metaphor.

Most of us have worked retail in one way or another and have seen those emails or memos that come in and say ‘hey… we screwed this thing up… pull it from the shelf’ or ‘we screwed up… change the price right away or put this sign out that says the price is wrong’.  I have not often seen the response to a improperly priced item to be to continue selling it and then go back and pursue those that bought it.

Is it not possible to shut off one NPC in an MMO? If not then what about a simple EULA notice on login that states the vendor is screwed up and any purchases will be open to review and action?  ANet said many responsible people reported the issue rather then take advantage of it so clearly they knew it was happening.

I respect ANet for wanting to show a hard stance on cheaters and hackers, most MMOs certainly do not care as long as they get the sub and box price.  (Looking at you Blizzard)  However, I respect a level headed approach even more… and taking care of your own house before simply banning people is a great place to start.

 

 

 

Making it free does not make it fun

Needless to say the news that Star Wars: The Old Republic is going to officially go F2P is taking the blogosphere and gaming sites over the last two days.  At last look the article on Massively had 1500 comments.  I think it is safe to say people have feelings about this.

I of course do as well.

Ok… I shall share.

To give a proper back story though I should disclose that I was a huge Galaxies fan.  I played at launch up till the NGE.  Even after the NGE I would pop in from time to time, but not with the level of commitment that I had before the changes.  To me, Galaxies was the ultimate immersive MMO world.  I was NOT this pivotal hero in the epic struggle.  I was just another guy running around DURING the epic struggle between the Rebels and the Empire… and I loved every minute of it.  I loved the fact that it really and truly felt like the world of Star Wars.

Now to jump forward roughly 8 years to the launch of SW: TOR.

It was not a bad game.  I enjoyed it for a few weeks after I picked it up.  I played a Bounty Hunter mostly.  The story line was fun.  Then I stepped outside of the story line and looked around and things fell flat.  There was no depth to the world.  It was Star Wars… but it did not FEEL like Star Wars to me.

Now to be clear, I do not now nor did I think at the time that the game was poor.  It looked nice, handled well on my system and sounded like Star Wars.  It just did not pull me in the way Galaxies did.  While Galaxies was in and of itself a grind with my character sometimes spending hours at a spot harvesting or killing, it all felt as though it was towards something greater.  The creation of my shop, building my home or finally getting that freighter I had been eyeing for so long.  They were achievements that took real time and were great moments when they finally came to pass.

Nothing in SW:TOR compelled me to keep playing and grinding away.  A new piece of armor?  Not that appealing.  Getting to the next level just to choose where to spend a simple skill point?  No thanks.

So now SW:TOR is going to switch business models to F2P.  Will it pull me back in… I highly doubt it.

See about 2 weeks ago, right at the time of the food poisoning incident of 2012 😦 I started reading the Timothy Zahn Thrawn Trilogy again.  Anyone that has never read these and considers themselves a Star Wars fan needs to get off their ass and read them RIGHT NOW.  They just bring the feel of Star Wars to the page like nothing else written.  It helps that they came out at a time before Lucas starting going back and redoing the movies and the prequels.  Waiting for the new installments to come out made me feel like a kid again waiting for Empire and Jedi.

Anyway, so I started reading those again and wanted to get some Star Wars gaming going on.  I could not fire up Galaxies, thank you so much whoever is really to blame for that, and SW:TOR just did not appeal to me at the time.  I did what any sane Star Wars fan would do, I fired up my copy of Knights of the Old Republic and spent the next 4 days blasting and cutting my way thru that epic game like it was the first time I played it so many years ago.

Now some folks have said that SW:TOR going F2P is great as it is a wonderful single player Star Wars RPG.  To that I say nay.  Playing KOTOR again reminded me just how great of a world the Star Wars mythology is, a feeling that SW:TOR never delivered on at $14.99 a month and will not deliver on for $0.00 a month either.

Unleashed

The official announcement came down today for Issue 1 of The Secret World and Funcom just keeps hitting the bullseye.  The content is going to be spread throughout the game world with new missions in all three zones, some continuing already established story lines and some creating new stories from newly introduced NPCs.  This Issue will also see the introduction finally of the Marketplace, TSW’s version of the auction house.  The Marketplace is going to be cross server so all players from all dimensions can buy and sell from one another, just as the chat functions.  Well, when it functions 😉

There is mention of new construction we may notice around the three Faction Cities that also ties in to some hints as to what is coming in Issue 2.  “Dr Aldini is sharpening his scalpels, the Ockham triplets are readying their scissors and razors.”  These sound like nods to the expanded character customization options that were not available at launch in the form of NPC vendors.

The other comment I saw that really inspires me and just increases my love for this game already is the following statement  “But that’s not all! Another mission awaits observant players on Solomon Island — one that explores a character that may be more than she pretends to be…”  Does this sound to anyone else like there will be more missions dropped into an area that will not be clearly marked and we will need to discover?  Perhaps missions that are uncovered thru conversations with NPCs or new missions unlocked by interacting with objects in the game world..

Of course even this news has been met with some criticism as some of these features, specifically the Marketplace, were removed before launch so can be considered new content.  Often times in MMOs there is no pleasing everyone.  If the Marketplace was in at launch but stopped working, such as the chat, some folks would have screamed Fail.  I for one prefer things be delayed a bit and working as intended then released only to break and cause more problems.  Patience is a virtue folks.

Postcards from Hell

Just thought I would share a few more screenshots from Roknar’s adventures around The Secret World.

Why not start with a day at the amusement park?

 

This guy was not very friendly

 

Ladies and gentlemen I give you the Kingsmouth Academy Cheerleaders!

What ever happened to just enjoying a game?

It is no secret that I am loving every minute I can get in The Secret World at the moment, some might even call me a fanboy.  Personally I do not care what I get called.  I am a grown man and survived my divorce so name calling is really no biggie.  What I do wonder though is when and why so many in our hobby became so jaded.

What baffles me the most is this concept that anyone that is passionate about a game loses any sense of respectability and can be labeled a fanboy/fangirl.  In this same fashion many seem to display the belief that only those that are critical of a game are truly objective, as if positive observations have no place on a blog or in an article.  The truth is these are ultimately just games but somewhere along the line it seems a portion of this community has lost sight of that.  The enjoyment does not seem to be there anymore for them yet they keep on plowing ahead to the next game alone to once again be objective and tear it apart.

Remember the days of actually getting excited when you defeated a level boss or when you finally hit that ding?  Those are the moments that we should be playing for, the love and passion that make a hobby a hobby.  I have had lots of hobbies in my life and when they start to become less engrossing to me I often times have to ask myself why is that… is it because the hobby itself has changed or is it because maybe I have changed?

Personally I still love gaming and hope to for many years to come.

First info on the July Issue of The Secret World

This bit of information comes via rockpapershotgun.com

Adam Smith over at rockpapershotgun.com was lucky enough to get a peak at the first issue for The Secret World and what he describes has me quite excited and gives me lots of hope for the future of this game.  According to Adam’s article this content is being referred to as an Issue, such as an issue of a comic series or anthology.  The issue will add new content to already existing areas of the game, namely some new content at the Overlook Motel and Kingsmouth Academy.  Players will return to these locations and expand on the story they have already encountered.

For the exact details you can follow the link above to the article.

What excites me about this is the game is not just expanding vertically from the end content… the end content is throughout now it seems.  Places that players may have explored and completed earlier are now adding more story and in some cases new NPCs entirely.  As a player that is very slow to move from zone to zone this news signals to me that the idea is to expand the game world outward instead of just upward.   We are currently playing at a point in the time line of TSW where the foundation has been and each issue could be seen as a wave of new story expanding out from this point.

This reminds me very much of The Matrix Online.  At launch Matrix Online had a simple concept.  You enter the matrix as a newly awakened player and experience the world but as the game progressed new story lines were created that had players going back to old areas and see the changes… sometimes even to see NPCs killed off and removed entirely.

Just looking at the clock to see how long till I can get home and log back in and adventure even more!

 

 

Damn you Steam

Yeah… it is time for the Steam summer sale.  There goes my money.

A few details about Marvel Heroes

So a few things I notice from the screen shot I took of the developer diary video released yesterday.

  • The UI is very similar to Diablo 1 and 2.  On the left we have a health meter and on the right some sort of energy meter.
  • There are multiple hot keys for powerrs on the UI at the bottom.
  • In the center there are two item hot keys, one appears to be a medkit icon the other looks to be a sort of recall key.
  • There is a menu on the UI at the bottom as well and most of the keys seem pretty standard.  I do notice a $ key which may be a cash or item shop key since the game is f2p.
  • Two icons on the left are labeled as Traits and Unique.  The site mentions each hero will have access to specific powers and abilities for that hero only, perhaps these are selected powers from those pools.
  • The rest is pretty standard UI, mini map top right, chat features bottom left.  Nothing innovative there
  • I used this screenshot other any others as it displays some of the loot from combat.  Woven Wristbands is quite obviously just gear that is picked up, but I noticed also Composite Alloy, Steel and White Dye.

That list item raised a few questions in my mind as I was watching the video.  When a hero picks up something such as Woven Wristbands and equips them do they display on the hero on screen or just in the inventory?  Also, are Composite Allow and Steel indicators that a crafting system will exist in this game to craft your own gear pieces?  If gear can be crafted and can add to our heroes abilities and power will there be an auction house to sell that gear on?

The more I see of Marvel Heroes the more curious I get and the more anxious I become to get my hands on it.

What matters most?

Gazillion Entertainment released a new developer diary yesterday to shed a bit more light on their upcoming game Marvel Heroes, this time a video with COO David Brevik .  They seem to be taking the smart approach now of putting Brevik out in front and really pushing the fact that he was one of the creative heads that made Diablo 1 and 2.  Few people could argue that his being involved is NOT a good thing considering the love for Diablo 1 and 2 in the PC gaming world.

Now the game has not really been shown much and lots of comments around the internet are focusing mostly on one specific aspect of the game, or the lack of something.  Players do not create their own character in Marvel Heroes, much as they did not in Diablo 1 and 2.  Instead you choose from existing characters and play thru the game with them and power them up in ways in which are more suitable to your own style.  So yes, there will be perhaps mulitple Iron Man players at one time, but some may be more defensive built or some could be more offensive built.  Add to that the fact that additional skins for your character can be unlocked or purchased and there can be some significant variety on screen.  For those complaining about three Wolverines on screen at once I have to wonder if playing Diablo 2 with three Paladins was a major issue.. so much so that they stopped playing.

Adding on top of the fact that Brevik is involved is that the main storyline head is Brian Michael Bendis who was a big part of the Marvel Ultimate launch.  Few could reasonably question his storytelling abilities.

So the question is what do you really care about?  Is it absolutely important to create from scratch a character all your own?  I remember the early days of City of Heroes where despite the amazing character creator I was surrounded by Wolverine and Superman copies…. hell even some of the names were copies.  Marvel Heroes is focusing not on the character creator but more on the content to experience.  Personally I want to explore some of these zones… I want to run around as Captain America dishing out justice with my shield or play as Wolverine exploring the Morlock tunnels… especially if I can do so during perhaps say the Mutant Massacre.

I like the approach they are taking with Marvel Heroes.. is it an MMORPG?  Hell if I know.  Will it be massive?  I am not really sure what that means anymore.  I do know it will be online… I do know it will have multiplayer aspects.. not so sure about the actual ‘role playing’ though.  I see it being more of a online mulitplayer action game with large amounts of collectibles and unlockable items.. and marvel characters… and to me that sounds pretty enjoyable.  That is what matters most to me as a gamer… enjoyment.

 

The friendly faces of The Secret World

About to log back in for a few more hours of TSW but wanted to share a few pics of the warm folks waiting to greet you in and around Kingsmouth.

Nothing like battling a large fungus looking monster in the shallow waters

 

uh… money shot?

 

I love the detail in the monster’s back… the ridges in it’s spine

 

With tomorrow being the 4th of July I expect to get quite a few solid hours in tonite, maybe even get out of the ‘starter zone’ finally.  I think I have a few more hours of misc side quests I can do before I am 100% then I can continue the main story line mission in the Savage Coast area.

I have to comment that this is one of the only MMOs I can recall playing in recent memory that has not had this invisible pull trying to get me to rush to the next zone.  I dare say I actually care about the stories more then anything else so far in this game and my play style is reflecting that.

 

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